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The Brainy Business | Understanding the Psychology of Why People Buy | Behavioral Economics

Jan 31, 2023

Today’s episode is all about making concepts tangible (what that means and why it matters in life and business). I am so excited to refresh this episode for you today because it shows how I was excited about something I didn’t have a word for several years ago, but was already searching for. Now I know this was at the root of my interest in cognitive semiotics, something we are digging into on this coming Friday’s episode with Sarah Thompson. 

Cognitive semiotics may sound super technical, but it is essentially about how the mind makes meaning, and we talk a lot about metaphor in that conversation. These brain associations and the concepts like a blue square or yellow triangle, which I introduce in this episode are from George Lakoff (I read about in his book The Political Mind, which was part of the reading in my master’s program. I wish they would have included Metaphors We Live By as that would have changed my entire life if I had encountered it all these years ago, but I think things turned out ok so I’m not too mad about it.)

While I didn’t realize it at the time, this episode from 2019 was my first real dive into cognitive semiotics and metaphor elicitation. This episode is all about what it means to make a concept “tangible” or a physical manifestation or physical representation of a concept, and why that is important for all kinds of businesses. Listen in for tips on making things more tangible (and making it easier for people to buy from you). 

Show Notes:

  • [00:38] Today’s episode is all about making concepts tangible.
  • [02:43] This isn’t really a topic you can look up. There aren’t really papers or extensive research on this naming. It is more of an acceptable premise. (As noted in the refreshed intro, the field of cognitive semiotics is a place to start.)
  • [03:21] The brain works on associations. 
  • [05:30] The physical shapes and colors of road signs bring a physical presence that can be recalled easier.
  • [07:04] The physical manifestation of the brand makes the business more real in your mind because there is a logo to relate to. 
  • [08:18] Physical representation can do two big things for a business. It can make an abstract concept more real and impactful. And, it can tie back to an emotion or memory or other association you want to remember. Abstract concepts are everywhere in business. 
  • [10:12] Businesses will say things that are more conceptual but feel tangible. That makes the point more impactful for the customer. 
  • [12:50] The physical, tangible representation can be tied to our emotional center and trigger loss aversion. A personal example from DVDs.
  • [13:35] In your business, where could you reverse the process and find a spot to inject a physical form where only a concept exists today to make your business more tangible and sticky for your customers?
  • [16:24] When you take something from conceptual to tangible it makes it easier for the brain to categorize, relate, and remember.  
  • [17:04] The second way that physical representation is helpful is that it can help remind you of associations you have made previously or of what is important to you. 
  • [19:45] A strong brand is able to live through the lack of words and evoke feelings. They leave an impression even without their name. 
  • [21:14] What could your business do to be a constant association and reminder in the brains of your customers?
  • [21:22] One important reminder is to note where the association is taking place and what that says for and about your overall brand. 
  • [23:07] You (typically) don’t want to be associated with the physical manifestation of a negative concept. 
  • [24:47] You can strategically create visuals around what you are wanting to do to help you achieve your goals. What you surround yourself with has a huge impact on your approach to life, business, and success. 
  • [25:16] Melina’s closing thoughts
  • [25:33] The words and images we use and how we can be more impactful when we are consistent in our metaphor usage, it’s just so so important in life and business.

Thanks for listening. Don’t forget to subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Android. If you like what you heard, please leave a review on iTunes and share what you liked about the show. 

I hope you love everything recommended via The Brainy Business! Everything was independently reviewed and selected by me, Melina Palmer. So you know, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. That means if you decide to shop from the links on this page (via Amazon or others), The Brainy Business may collect a share of sales or other compensation.

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